Sunday, August 23, 2009
The Lost Art of Handwriting and Letters
I was catching up on my TIME magazines the other day (I am perpetually an issue behind) and came across an interesting article about the lost art of handwriting - Mourning the Death of Handwriting, (Aug. 3, 2009). Who can forget those little letter guide workbooks in grade school? Zaner-Bloser has of course tried to update old-school handwriting by modifying some of it's letters and techniques but let's face it, handwriting has gone the way of the dodo. Who's to blame? Well of course it's the techno age we live in but I think that handwriting lost its appeal a long time ago. Our society has no use for the time honored tradition of written correspondence. Think about it. When is that last time you received a hand written letter from a friend?
I actually opened my mail box the other day and found myself pleasantly surprised - a letter! I tore through the envelope with great anticipation. Eight pages. Eight wonderful, word filled pages of updates about a very good friend and her family. I was thoroughly absorbed. I couldn't wait to get through every sentence, every detail. I was lost in her word for a while. It was the closest thing to being near her I've had in many years. It was wonderful.
Letters read like a short story quenching our desire to keep in touch with others. It is our basic human nature to stay in the know and be a part of someone else's life. I know, we have email for that and it provides a much more instant gratification. But there is something about opening that mail box or going through our mail and finding the occasional letter or card from friend or loved one. It's the recognizable handwriting (probably the printing more like it!) but still, the smile that comes to our face as we realize, someone wants to share with us or has remembered us. It is priceless.
My kids did learn cursive writing in 2nd Grade. It was a required part of their curriculum. I remember those painstaking days of getting the letters just right. And I still make them send letters or notes of thanks to their grandparents and other family members. Of course, neither one of them uses handwriting at all. They print everything or entrust their written words to their trusty MAC. But I am old-school and miss long letters and beautiful handwriting. It's as if we lost some of our civility by gaining the instantaneous of email - so cold and impersonal. Do yourself and a friend or loved one a favor - compose a little something, write a little note, send a little card. Who knows? You just might start something.
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